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SPY • HOP (v):The act in which a dolphin rises above the water in order to navigate and determine its position in relation to other members of the pod. 2. To look ahead. 3. To tune in.
Spy Hop Productions is a not-for-profit youth media arts and education center whose purpose is to empower youth to express their voice and with it create positive change in their lives, their community, and the world.
Our mission is to encourage free expression, self-discovery, critical and inventive thinking, and skilled participation via the big screen, the airwaves, and the world-wide-web.
Spy Hop is committed to the following organizational objectives:
- Providing safe after-school and summer time mentoring programs for diverse youth (K-12) in emerging digital technologies and the media arts
- Developing 21st century skills in youth: community and global awareness, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and media literacy
- Promoting positive youth development thru individuality, leadership, creativity and intellectual curiosity
- Increasing higher education and/or vocational opportunities
Founded in 1999, Spy Hop provides approximately 1,000 youth participants per year with hands-on and mentorship-based learning experiences in the documentary arts, film/video production, audio engineering, and interactive design. Due to Spy Hop's high quality and effective after-school and summertime programs, the center has become a vital resource for the youth of Salt Lake and to the community at large. The organization is now widely recognized as one of the leading youth media arts education centers in the country, and acknowledged by the Sundance Institute as setting the standard for media arts learning across the nation. Past grant awards have included the Time Warner Foundation's 21st Century Literacy Award, The Starbucks Foundation's Youth Leadership Development Award, and Community Technology Center's Network for Youth Visions and Stronger Neighborhoods Award. Spy Hop Productions is also supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and many other generous local and national foundations, corporations and individual donors.
In collaboration with community partners such as the Utah State Office of Education, the Sundance Institute, the University of Utah, and the Salt Lake's Mayor's Office, Spy Hop Productions' dynamic studio learning environment actively engages youth in an array of innovative multimedia programs. All of Spy Hop's programs encourage youth to explore issues and concerns that are relevant and meaningful to their lives, to become critical consumers of media and to become actively involved in their communities. Through the production of their own media, youth are given an opportunity to discover their voice, to think creatively and work collaboratively with peers from diverse backgrounds. Spy Hop continually strives to close the "digital divide" by reaching out to underserved youth and marginalized communities needing access to and instruction in the latest digital technologies. Youth "graduate" from Spy Hop programs with a measurable increase in self-confidence, media literacy, and technical skills which prepare them for a digital future. Spy Hop's comprehensive curriculum and evaluation plan ensures that the programs stay true to the best practices in education and the development of critical 21st century life skills.
Spy Hop's programs include: the Youth Documentary Arts program (Reel Stories,Documenting Communities, Write-Shoot-Ride, and Digital Storytelling), the Pitch-Nic Young Writer & Director program, Loud and Clear Youth Radio program with KRCL 90.9FM, Media Apprenticeship Program, and numerous other community partnerships. The majority of Spy Hop's programs are offered free of charge, and financial assistance is available to youth who cannot afford tuition-based workshops. The young producers' creative works have reached local and national audiences in the millions, appearing in numerous local, national and international film festivals.
- The creation of the nationally recognized Spy Hop Documentary Arts Program and Media Studio Apprenticeship Program.
- Partnered with the Sundance Institute for the Reel Stories summer documentary program from 2002-2007.
- Successfully hosted and produced the LocoMotion International Youth Film Festival from 2002-2007. This festival was initiated during the 2002 winter Olympics in conjunction with the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration of Salt Lake City.
- Established and continue to air Utah's only weekly youth radio program "Loud and Clear" on KRCL 90.9 FM.
- Showcased award-winning youth produced films in numerous local, national and international film festivals including: The Hamptons Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Peace and Human Security, DocuJam at the Museum of Television and Radio, Seoul International Youth Film Festival, special screenings at the United Nations Assembly, Lisbon Village Festival, Reel Teens Festival, Fear No Film Festival, and Sundance Film Festival
- Received Salt Lake City Mayor's 2003 Service to the Arts Awards.
- Founded the Interactive Digital Education Academy (iDEA) in 2006, a professional development training opportunity for public school teachers interested in integrating the filmmaking process into the core curriculum.
- Recognized, in collaboration with a number of other youth media organizations, with a 2007 Peabody Award for the compelling youth produced documentary compilation, Beyond Borders: Personal Stories from a Small Planet
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